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Rebels return to the national rankings at No. 24 in AP poll

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Carlos Lopez-Sosa celebrates a play during their game against Chicago State Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 74-52.

UNLV vs. Cal State Bakersfield 2013

UNLV forward Anthony Bennett sails in for a dunk against Cal State Bakersfield during their game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 84-63. Launch slideshow »

After a week hiatus, the UNLV basketball team is back in the Associated Press rankings.

The Rebels (13-2), fresh off a pair of double-digit wins last week, are ranked No. 24 in the poll released today. The Rebels had been ranked eight straight weeks by the AP before dropping out last week following their defeat at North Carolina.

UNLV begins Mountain West Conference play Wednesday at No. 25 New Mexico, opening league play with road games in three of its initial four contests. UNLV hosts Air Force on Saturday and hits the road next week for a pair of games — Jan. 16 at No. 16 San Diego State and Jan. 19 at non-ranked Colorado State (13-2).

Undefeated Wyoming (13-0) of the Mountain West nearly cracked the top 25 with 87 votes, which was 15 less than the number New Mexico received in 25th place.

The top seven teams in the AP rankings remained the same, starting with top-ranked Duke followed by Michigan, Arizona, Louisville, Indiana, Kansas and Syracuse. Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh fell out of the rankings.

UNLV is ranked No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, moving up from last week when it was ranked No. 24.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. Now's the time to start climbing up in the rankings. The B1G teams will start beating each other, and the Rebels can move up to the top 10 with two weeks of being unbeaten in conference play.

  2. There is a legitimate chance that the Rebels could be 1-3 after the first four games. Brutal scheduling but it isn't the end of the season. There will be plenty of road losses for all the MWC teams this year due to the parity of the teams and the extremely difficult nature of playing on the road in the conference. I expect the Rebels to end up with 4 or 5 losses in league and still be right there at the end. If they start slow, don't give up on them